Although trillions of dollars are spent on healthcare every year, many people don't get trillion dollar care. These stories are a compilation of healthcare nightmares that ruined many peoples trips to the hospital, either through medical staffers showing an unwillingness to treat people well, or woefully inadequate care to people in need of help.
"When I was 17, I woke up around 2 am with ear pain and then felt scratching inside my ear. It was one of the most uncomfortable feelings ever and I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to rip my dang ear off. The scratching inside my ear continued for another 40-50 minutes until I couldn’t take it anymore, so I woke up my mum and told her I had severe ear pain and scratching.
She took me to the hospital in the middle of the night. I checked in and got called into the office a couple of minutes later. I kid you not, the doctor looked inside my ear, and he told me there was a roach in there. So I was hyperventilating and panicking as he leaned me over to my side. He then drowned my ear with a deluge of water. I was feeling light-headed and woozy as he then proceeded to remove the roach from my ear with some tweezers. Turns out I had two in my ear. It was the worst feeling I've ever had."
"I get a call from my mother that my sister has been taken out of her apartment in an ambulance because she was in so much pain she couldn't walk. I live about 40 minutes away, but I am the closest, so I go running.
She's in crazy pain, but they're basically ignoring her. Not appendicitis based on the initial exam, but in that general area. They're giving her the good medications and asking her constantly if she's on her period or pregnant but do nothing else to actually check on her. Eventually (hours later) we're taken into an exam room that fully isn't cleaned, they put a puppy pad over some blood on the step up to the chair. So they do an internal sonogram on her and say, 'Honey you need to pee, there's something in the way' she does, and they still say, 'Well, something's in the way but it's so big that we know it couldn't be torsion which is what we're worried about- take some pills and go home it's probably just cramps or a cyst that burst. Nothing to do.'
She goes to her gynecologist in the morning and is then rushed into surgery at a different (better) hospital. She had a grapefruit sized dermoid on her ovary, that did in fact cause ovarian torsion, and she lost her ovary as a result."
"I was 16 and I had horrible stomach pains for about a week. Initially, I just chalked it up to the flu going around school but it didn't go away. As it continued for another week I lost about 12 pounds and started throwing up after almost every meal my dad was sufficiently freaked and took me to the ER and the doctor was convinced I was pregnant.
She kept pestering me about even though I repeatedly said there was absolutely no way I could be pregnant unless there had been another immaculate conception. I was on the verge of tears when she went so far as to tell my dad to leave the room so I could 'admit the truth' like I was being interrogated. She finally made me pee in a cup and to nobodies surprise I wasn't pregnant.
Then after just pushing really hard on my stomach and asking me if it hurt she said it must be my kidneys. She wanted to start me on meds but warned that if it wasn't actually my kidneys that the medication she was giving me could cause serious damage.
It was at this point my usually very calm and reasonable dad completely lost his mind and asked the woman if she had actually gone to med school and pulled me out of there.
We went to another hospital where I found out I needed an appendectomy immediately. What a terrible nurse not every teen girl with stomach pains is pregnant!"
"I was in a car accident and T-boned by someone going 65 MPH. My hand was caught in-between the collapsing car and the steering wheel.
When I popped my hand out, I felt the bones in it break and it hurt badly.
Amazingly enough, I had no other injuries. But the EMT's were taking no chances. Thinking I was in shock, they strapped me onto a backboard and hauled me off to the ER. While in the ER, I was asked several times if I was injured anywhere, and I repeatedly said 'My hand is broken, it hurts real bad. By the way, this backboard is hurting the ever living heck out of the back of my head, can I get off of it please? Also, can you please call my mother?' At the time I was 19 and scared.
Two hours later, I was still on the backboard, and I had lost count of how many people had asked me where my injuries were. Every time I repeated 'my left hand is broken, it hurts.' A while later, I was finally taken down to the X-ray department where they checked nearly every bone in my body except my left hand.
I was wheeled back to the ER, still on that stupid backboard. After all of that, I had a horrendous headache from where my head was resting on that 2x4, and I sat for another couple of hours. During that time I was able to talk a nurse into bringing me a bedpan, so I could relieve myself. This police officer came in and gave me a ticket despite the fact that the other person was speeding.
Finally, after having been in the ER for six hours, I FINALLY talked someone into calling my mother to come pick me up, the doctor had FINALLY said I could get off of the backboard, and when my mom got there (I'm not sure how many traffic laws she broke to get there as fast as she did), he let me know I had no injuries.
'Yes, I do. My hand is broken.'
'Young lady, I'm the doctor, I tell you when your hand is broken.'
That was when I grabbed my ring finger on my left hand and pulled it out, and the break became visible through the skin.
'My hand is mangled'
My mom, being an attorney, just looked at the doctor and said, 'Does the word 'malpractice' mean anything to you?'
Back down to the X-ray department I went, and to the surprise of nobody, my hand was broken, but the doctor was all how it was well hidden and that's why they missed it the first time. They only missed it the first time because NO ONE X-RAY'D MY HAND.
A couple of days later, I went to an orthopedic doctor to get my hand rebroken and the bone set. Needless to say, it was excruciating. I pulled out the X-ray to take a look to see the break and how 'hidden' it really was, and anybody without medical training see that break right there in the middle of the bone plain as day.
It's 20 years later, the bone never did set correctly, and I'm starting to get arthritis in it. I can tell you when the weather is going to change based on how badly my hand is hurting."
"I went to college health center with classic mono symptoms, although I didn't find out it was mono until eight months later. The hospital staff had me take a nap, then woke me up suddenly in a dark room, half an hour after the building was closed to inform me that I was being quarantined for meningitis and had to go to the hospital. I didn't want to take a $1,000 ambulance ride, but they refused to let me drive myself so my options were either take an ambulance or stay all night.
After three hours in the ER the doctor showed up and got ready with his gloves and mask since I was allegedly contagious. Then he took one look, ripped the mask off, and said, 'You look way too healthy to have meningitis, but I have to do a spinal tap anyway.'
Then he proceeded to stick a needle in my spinal cord while muttering angrily about how foolish of a diagnosis it was."
"The day after I graduated from college, I began having intense stomach pains that kept me awake for almost three days straight. Went to my doctor, and they sent me over the ER to get a CT scan immediately. Found out I had a pretty significant intestinal blockage.
Anyway, my first night in the hospital I was finally able to get kind of comfortable but the nurses were insistent that I take Ambien to sleep. I told them that I hadn't slept in three days and that I was going to pass out any minute. Well they kept pushing, and like an idiot, I took the pill. Fast forward to the next morning where I wake up with dried blood all over my arm and I generally hurt all over.
It turns out I got really messed up on the Ambien. I stripped down, ripped out all my IVs, and ran down to the nurse station while babbling nonsense.
To this day I've never seen my mom as mad as she was when she found out what happened."
"I was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 15. I had my first port-a-catheter in my chest for a good amount of time before there was a blood clot that formed and I needed it to get replaced a few months down the line. My doctor went over it with me, we confirmed that it was going to go in basically the same spot as my other port-a-catheter, just on the opposite side of my chest, because I said 'No, I would not like to have a port-a-catheter under my chest where I have to awkwardly move my bosom for people to access it.'
Fast-forward to the surgery day of removal and replacement: the surgeon doing the surgery goes over the general procedure with me, confirms that I am getting a new port-a-catheter as well as getting the old one removed. Here I am thinking that my doctor and this surgeon had a discussion on what was going on with me overall.
I wake up in the triage room, or whatever bay it's called, and my first reaction getting up is to feel where the new port-a-catheter was to get used to it being there. What woke me up more was that I didn't feel the port-a-catheter where it should have been, and when I tried to sit up to check that maybe this port-a-catheter was smaller than the last one, I felt this burning PAIN under my right teat and side. Tentatively, I reach down and feel under my right teat. I felt that familiar gauze and bump of a port-a-catheter being there, and I actually just started crying out of absolute frustration because I'm in pain, it's in the wrong spot, it's more inaccessible to anyone wanting to jab me with needles for my chemotherapy and other medical needs.
So here I am on this gurney, getting back to my hospital room, and I am ANGRY. The look on my face apparently just concerned my nurses, my CAs, and my parents. My dad just asks: 'sweetie, what's wrong?' and I'm just, 'He. Put. My. Cath. Under. My. Chest. And. It. HURTS.'
So because I'm all displeased with this and I am making it CLEARLY KNOWN, I get my re-replacement catheter surgery scheduled for a day later. So I have a total of three scars on my chest, two on either side of my chest close to my collar, and one VERY UNNECESSARY ONE under my right teat.
My dad actually pulled that surgeon aside, and apparently the conversation was something like this:
Dad: 'You know, my daughter was under the impression that you were going to do it a certain way, and had even went over that with the doctor. Now, assuming you went over this with the doctor, you should have been well aware of where she wanted her new catheter.'
Surgeon: 'My main concern was the scarring that would have been left afterward. What if she wanted to wear a dress, or a top that revealed that part of her chest?'
Dad: 'Doesn't matter. My daughter would wear those scars with pride and probably even brag about them; you don't freaking know her. The point is that you did not go over this thoroughly with my daughter, nor did you confirm that that was something she wanted. If she was fine with it, whatever. But she's not, and that is on you especially since she had options for where she wanted her catheter.' "
"My ex boyfriend went in to the hospital for kidney stones. He has diabetes, so it's a very common.
He had an IV inserted, and he waited until I arrived a little while later to keep him company. I was trying to be a good girlfriend y'know? All of a sudden I see signs that his blood sugar might be high because he was talking funny and acting off, so I told him to check his blood sugar.
Sure enough, his blood sugar is super high, so I went to go get his nurse to fetch him some insulin. She finally arrives 20 minutes later and checks his blood sugar. She confirms its high, but she looks at me and accuses me of giving him sugar. I said there was no way I would do that. I told her to check his IV drip because it's possible that someone gave him a regular bag and not one without sugar. She balked at that and walked away to get some insulin.
After an hour of his blood sugar NOT coming down I demanded that they give him another IV drip. The bag he was hooked up to was for non-diabetics. This stupid nurse finally replaced the standard bag with the right one for diabetics. After that, his blood sugar came down. That nurse didn't look or talk to me the rest of his hospital stay and I filed an official complaint."
"My wife went to the ER for extreme pain and pressure in her lower back. She had difficult, painful urination with specs of blood, nausea and a whole lot of other things that just scream 'kidney stone.' After a few tests and a couple of Tylenol, they sent her home with the diagnosis of menstrual cramps.
Now that sort of pain could be caused by menstruation, I suppose I wouldn't really know, but what I am pretty sure of is that a woman who had a hysterectomy 14 years ago no longer experiences her menstrual cycle. This is of course something she told the triage nurse during intake. It's something she told the doctor during his check-up. It's something she's told that friggin' hospital every time she's been there for the past 8 years. They never believe her for some reason.
Two days later we went to a different hospital. Yep. Kidney stones. Three of them."
"My wife had surgery. She was in the OR for about three hours and a nurse comes to me and says 'The doctor would like to talk to you' and drops me in another room. I'm like 'oh my god she died on the table!' And I'm panicking. They left me in the room for an hour with nobody coming to see me. In that hour I went though terror, grief, denial, and every other awful emotion. Finally, after an hour they wheel my wife in on a gurney, and I am incredibly relieved and ecstatic. What kind of bedside manner is that?
I wish I could say that was the worst of it but it got worse. My wife is still obviously under the effects of the anesthesia, and they ask her if she's in pain, 'yes' bang, they hit her with fentanyl or some other opiate. Every 20 minutes 'Pain?' My wife is saying yes, and even I'm at this point like 'Hey it's obvious she's not at her full mental capacity please stop doping her up.'
Then they put us in a room for recovery. It was a large room with about 20 beds with curtains. After three or four hours they are asking us to get dressed and get ready to leave. My wife is still barely conscious. So they ask me to dress my wife and put her in a chair. I am doing my best to dress my incoherent wife and the curtain is flying open and the whole rooms sees my wife partially dressed. I finally flag down a nurse to help us, and she gets my wife dressed and sits her in a chair. My wife at this point is like 'Yeah I'm really out of it do you think I could stay a little while longer?' No. They put my wife in a wheelchair and ask me to pull the car around front, so I do. I pull up outside, no wife or nurse who took her down were outside waiting, nobody. So I go into the lobby and find my wife pushed into a corner by a plant. No nurse or orderly with her. My wife was still only mildly coherent. What on earth is wrong with these people!? Someone literally could have stolen my wife, and she wouldn't have been able to react to it. I managed to basically carry my wife into the back seat of my car, laid her down, and strapped her in to all three seat belts. I drove home slowly.
That said, her surgery was successful, so the doctors must have been good but that hospital was a terrible otherwise."
"This is why I have a HORRIBLE, unconquerable dental phobia.
Turns out, I have a somewhat common glitch in my anatomy. One of my facial nerves isn't in the exact place it ought to be. The people that have this anomaly usually have only one nerve that's effected and the nerve is usually in one part of my face instead of where it is in most people.
Problem with this is that dental anesthesia is basically a nerve block. If they don't get it in the right place, it won't do anything.
Well, my teeth came in very crowded. And this was back in the day when the treatment for THAT was just keep ripping teeth out to 'make room' because yeah, that works well, and it totally helps the fact that your jaw is too small for all your teeth.
I had 14 teeth pulled, seven fillings done, and a root canal, all without any anesthesia. They gave it to me, but it was never going to do anything where they were putting it.
All this happened before I was 14 years old. My mother was a horrible person and refused to believe I was in pain. She thought I was just 'being such a baby' because I didn't want it done whatever it was. The dentist said it was 'impossible' for me to feel anything with all the anesthesia they gave me.
Skip ahead and I'm 32. I cracked a tooth clean in half. I really hadn't had many problems up until then because I have impeccable dental hygiene due to my phobia. The tooth was just weak or something. Go to the dentist and I'm already a crying, shaking, hyperventilating mess as soon as I walk in the door. I've taken three borrowed Ativan and they're not helping. I'm just dizzy. I have a stuffed toy and I'm not even a little bit ashamed.
I managed to explain to the dentist that I know I need to have this done, just do whatever but I already know how it's going to feel and to just deal with me being a baby.
He figured out inside five minutes I have this anatomical glitch and for the first time since I can remember, nothing hurt. I was shocked.
Don't get me wrong, still afraid of dentists, but I'm glad I know more now."
"When I was 12 years old, I woke up around 11 pm with severe difficulty breathing. My mom rushed me to the neighborhood hospital just two blocks away and explained to ER staff what was happening. They asked us to take a seat and wait for help. I was struggling to communicate with anyone because it was so hard to breathe, when we got there the waiting room was mostly empty, but we sat there for what felt like forever. I was red in the face, working extra hard to take in every breath. After a long wait I was led to a bed and given oxygen tubes in the nostrils, but that barely helped. The nurse vanished and was gone for a long, long time.
When she came back and said she had been looking for the respiratory specialist who was supposed to be on duty but was nowhere to be found. At this point my throat hurt like being choked because it was so hard to breathe. Finally, around 2:30 am, the respiratory specialist appeared and said he was sorry to be late, because he was 'finishing some pepperoni in the break room.'
He took a look at me and said he would come back to 'administer an adrenaline injection in the heart.' You're probably thinking of 'Pulp Fiction,' and it is my understanding that the procedure shown in that film isn't really how such emergencies are handled. We weren't sure if he was joking or not, but this certainly wasn't the time for joking. He reappeared a few minutes later with a very primitive-looking needle, and informed us that he could 'actually administer the adrenaline injection elsewhere.'
I can't remember for sure, but I think I got it in my arm. This was in 2003, and I later learned that adrenaline hadn't been used like this in most hospitals since the '80s. I finally started breathing normally again, but was hooked up to an IV and some other stuff, so I couldn't leave. My mom went to find someone and couldn't even find a nurse. Someone different eventually showed up at 5 am and said I was 'good to go,' despite not having discussed anything with the doctor.
We left and had to hack our car out of a thick layer of ice, because an ice storm had happened during the night."